Halloween is quickly approaching, and according to the National Retail Federation, spending on the holiday is expected to reach $9.1 billion. Better Business Bureau wants shoppers to keep a few things in mind in order to protect their identities.
"With record spending, shoppers may be in a rush to purchase a costume or decorate the house, and can miss red flags. You may be ordering a costume online, or dropping by a pop-up Halloween store. These shops can be a great way to purchase costumes, decorations, and other themed merchandise. But their temporary nature can leave consumers in the lurch," said BBB's Rebecca Barr.
Before making a purchase BBB advises to:
- Know the return policy: Ask whether the store will be open after the holiday and whether it will accept returns.
- Use a credit card: Save your receipts and use a credit card. If there’s a problem with your purchase, your credit card company will help handle the dispute.
- Check for contact information: Make sure the store has a website with contact information in case you need to reach them later.
When shopping online, make sure the website is secure before entering your credit card information.
"Look for URLs that start with “https://” and check the company’s reputation with BBB. Read the fine print, making sure you understand the return policy and shipping times. Hang on to confirmation numbers, and ensure the shop has working contact information so you can follow up in case there are problems," Barr said.
BBB is also encouraging people to be aware of what Halloween events they plan to attend, especially if traveling.
"Be cautious of events that advertise only online or on social media, or that don’t provide information on how to contact the event organizers. When in doubt, contact the venue and see if they have a paid booking for the date and time listed, or if they have heard of the organizer. One company that came to BBB’s attention has a “No Refund” policy, which applies even when they are the ones to cancel the event," Barr said.
You can find more information at www.bbb.org.